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Hailed for its total body conditioning, rowing is an excellent activity to stay in shape, working a vast range of major muscles and helping to improve overall cardiovascular endurance. Better still, the rowing motion makes it a low impact exercise, so it is safe for people of all ages and levels of fitness. Whether you opt for a fluid rower, air rower, or magnetic rower, these machines are the perfect addition to any commercial gym’s cardio line-up.


  • Varied muscle use

    Rowing is second only to cross-country skiing in overall muscle management, using over 82% of the body's muscles

  • Minimum impact

    Rowers work most of your joints through a significant and beneficial range of movement, without damaging your joints.
    • Reduced stress

      During cardio exercise, endorphins are released into your bloodstream. This release of endorphins produces a natural high, which in turn relieves stress.
    • Boosted energy levels

      Exercise of any kind will increase your energy levels, and rowing is one of the best forms of exercise to help increase your overall energy.
    • Total body workout

      A massive benefit of rowing is that it works your entire body, rather than an isolated muscle group.
    • Ideal for a number of users

      Rowing machines are a good option for those seeking weight loss, cardiovascular fitness, muscle tone, flexibility, strength, or endurance. They are also recommended for competitive athletes and people recovering from injuries.
    • Increased lung capacity

      Rowing will help improve your lung capacity, making you stronger and healthier.


  • Type of rowing machine

    Do you want a realistic on-water simulation, or perhaps you prefer a quiet motion? There are varying resistance types available with rowers. The most realistic rowing motion is supplied by fluid rowers, which are powered by water. Here are the three categories of rower and their resistance types:

    • FLUID

      The most realistic of all options, fluid rowers accurately simulate on-water rowing by increasing the resistance in direct proportion to the pace at which you row. Water powered, you can adjust the amount of water in the resistance tank to increase or decrease the overall pressure and resistance. Fluid rowing machines tend to have a smaller footprint compared to air rowers.

      Sometimes combined with magnetic resistance, air rowers closely match the simulation of a true rowing experience. This is second only to fluid rowers. Powered by a flywheel, wind is used for resistance. These rowers can be a little noisy.

      Quieter in operation than other rowers, magnetic rowers use powerful electromagnets to provide adjustable degrees of resistance. Although quieter in operation, magnetic rowers mostly lack the feel offered by quality air and fluid rowers.


  • Your available area

    It’s imperative that the rower you buy fits comfortably into your allocated space. Measure the length, width and height of the available area. When measuring, make sure you allow extra space for getting on and off the machine. Fluid rowers store vertically to save space, so be sure to bear that in mind.


  • Standard of construction

    A quality rower will feature well-finished, solid construction with an aluminium seat rail. Duel rails are quieter than single rails. The machine shouldn’t be unsteady when you sit on it. Another sign of a high-quality machine is a decent seat runner. To test this, move the seat to one end of the rail and tilt that end of the rower up a couple of inches. A good runner and rail will allow the seat to roll freely to the other end with minimal tilting. Commercial-grade rowing machines are built to withstand higher daily usage than rowers designed for the home.


  • Comfort factors

    If you’re tall, it’s worth checking that you can use the machine comfortably, so a longer seat rail would be wise. The seat should feel comfortable, even after you’ve completed your workout. Some rowers have higher seats, which you may prefer, particularly if you’re tall. Make sure your feet can be comfortably secured in the footplates. Many rowers come with adjustable footplates with handy straps. Lastly, the handle should feel comfortable to hold and offer good grip, even when your hands are becoming tired and sweaty.


  • Quality of movement

    Look for a smooth and even feel with no jerkiness or points where resistance suddenly drops away, especially at the beginning of the stroke. Check the range of the movement - when you’re as far forward on the runner as possible (i.e. buttocks as close to the heels as possible) with your arms fully extended and holding the handle, the handle shouldn’t have reached its start position.

  • Console and programmes

    Rower consoles display your workout statistics, which will include at least your speed, distance, time and calories burned. More advanced models offer additional options, such as heart-rate monitoring or dedicated programmes, ideal if you want workout variety. The more advanced the options, the higher the price bracket so it’s important to consider whether programmes are important to you.
  • Weight capacity

    We recommend choosing a rowing machine that can handle about 20kg more than your own weight to guarantee stability when you’re rowing
  • Storage and portability

    Rowers are amongst the most compact of cardio equipment and tend to have a long, narrow footprint. Fluid rowers can be stored upright, which is useful if you’re tight for space. This is usually a very simple process for one person to do single-handedly. Rowers often come with transport wheels for easy transportation so make sure you check for these if you’re likely to be moving the machine from place to place.